Scripture: Lectionary 221.  Deuteronomy 30:15-20. Psalm 1:1- Luke

Today's Readings

Luke, the Evangelist of the kindness of Christ, helps us to focus on the
words of Jesus that give us a good start to Lent. Jesus is telling his
disciples and us that he is going up to Jerusalem to suffer, die, and on
the third day rise from the dead.  This prediction is what Lent is all
about as we move from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. As his disciples we
are to take up our cross DAILY and follow in the footsteps of the Lord.  We
are to constantly listen to these words of Jesus and delve into them while
rolling them over in our hearts.  The words and actions of Jesus will
continue as we go through Lent, but these are the central mysteries of the
Savior who has given us the way of the Cross in order to experience the day
of the Resurrection.  There is no Good Friday without the clarion call of
Ash Wednesday and there is no Easter Vigil or Easter Day without Good
Friday preparing the way.

Paradoxes are part of biblical language and Jesus is one of the greatest
speakers of parables, paradoxes, and words of hidden and often open wisdom.
His message about the cross is contrary to contemporary thinking. The
message is seemingly opposed to common sense and yet it is true. For
example, this is a paradox: in order to save one's life, one must give it
up. Jesus wants us to probe, to think over, and to ponder all of his words.

One mideval writer, Thomas a Kempis, wrote a book called the Following of
Christ and it takes through the whole life of person by showing the
paradoxes that lead to eternal life. Jesus words are even stronger today as
we look at our Lenten journey.  Jesus gets to the point of what Lent is all

Jesus calls us to make the choice of life by following him through his
sufferings and death.  It is similar to the summons of Deuteronomy which
help us to make the correct choices in our spiritual life and our covenant
with God. Deuteronomy leads us to the unbelievable call of Jesus by helping
us to make choices that ultimately give life--eternal life.  Jesus gives us
assurance that there is such a life.  We believe then that even after a
number of years that we experience there is more to us who are created in
the image and the likeness of an Eternal Life called God. Jesus' words
confirm us that there is a gift of life after our limited years. Lent
offers us the time to reflect on the essentials of soul life united with
Christ through the liturgy, through prayer, fasting, and sharing of our
selves and our gifts (almsgiving). We actually deepen our lives by
listening and embracing today's message from the lips of Jesus. They are
living words from the Son of the living God. We deepen our ordinary life
through entering into the Paschal Mysteries of Christ's suffering, death,
and resurrection.

Let us pray, " Lord Jesus, we are listening to  your words as your
community of faithful disciples. We trust you and want to follow you more
closely this Lent.  We have this opportunity before us during these six
weeks. We need your help to enter into the paradox of giving ourselves
totally in order to find ourselves in you.  May our following of you all
the way to the Cross not only help us, but also those who are searching for
you through us. Amen."